A Comprehensive Guide on How to Check Linux Version


Linux, with its diverse distributions and constant updates, is a powerful and versatile operating system widely used across the globe. Knowing how to check your Linux version is crucial for troubleshooting, compatibility, and ensuring you have the latest features. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore various methods to check your Linux version.

1. Checking Linux Version using the Command Line:

The command line is a powerful tool for Linux users. Open a terminal and run the following command to display your Linux version:

$ lsb_release -a

This command provides detailed information about your Linux distribution, release, and codename.

2. Using the /etc/os-release File:

Linux systems store information about the operating system in the /etc/os-release file. You can use the cat command to view its content:

$ cat /etc/os-release

This file contains key information such as the distribution name, version, and ID.

3. Checking Kernel Version:

The Linux kernel is the core of the operating system. To check the kernel version, use the following command:

$ uname -r

This command outputs the kernel release, which is essential for understanding system compatibility.

4. Examining the /proc/version File:

Another method involves examining the /proc/version file, which holds information about the kernel version and build time. Use the following command:

$ cat /proc/version

This provides a concise overview of the kernel details.

5. Utilizing the hostnamectl Command:

The hostnamectl command not only displays the Linux version but also provides additional system information:

$ hostnamectl

This command reveals details about the operating system, kernel, and architecture.

6. Checking Version Using /etc/issue File:

The /etc/issue file contains information about the distribution and release. View its contents using:

$ cat /etc/issue

This method provides a simple and quick way to check your Linux version.

7. Exploring the /etc/lsb-release File:

Some distributions store release information in the /etc/lsb-release file. Check it with the following command:

$ cat /etc/lsb-release

This file often contains distribution-specific details.

8. Using the dpkg Command:

For Debian-based systems, the dpkg command can be used to query package information, including the installed Linux version:

$ dpkg --status base-files

Look for the “Version” field in the output.

9. Checking Release Notes:

Release notes often provide information about the current version and any updates. Visit the official website or use the following command:

$ cat /usr/share/doc/$(lsb_release -si)/RELEASE-NEWS

This command displays release notes specific to your distribution.

10. Checking the Update Manager:

Graphical user interfaces on Linux often include an update manager that displays version information. Explore your system’s update manager for a user-friendly view of your Linux version.


Knowing how to check your Linux version is fundamental for both novice and experienced users. Whether you prefer the command line or graphical tools, these methods provide you with the necessary insights into your Linux system. Stay informed, keep your system up-to-date, and enjoy the powerful world of Linux.

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